L5R High Fantasy Rule Rewrite
More so than almost any other mechanic, Skills define the knowledge and competency of a character. While Traits demonstrate what a character is capable of in terms of sheer mental and physical abilities, Skills are the sum of everything they have learned throughout the course of their entire lifetime, and as such allow them to accomplish a tremendous amount. Skill Rolls are the most common rolls made during play. For the purposes of making rolls, Skills are almost always paired with a Trait. This is denoted in the game by listing the names together, such as Swords / Agility. When this notation occurs, it means that the player in question should roll a number of dice equal to his character’s Sword Skill plus his Agility Trait, and keep a number equal to his Agility. Skills fall into a number of categories. The most significant of these is referred to as the subtype, a system where all Skills are sorted into one of four broad categories. The Skill subtypes include:
- Merchant Skills represent once expertise in a field that can create something, be it art, food, tools, buildings, wealth etc.
- Combat Skills are a person’s physical training, muscle memory for weapon skills or knowledge of tactics.
- Socials Skills represents one’s understanding of how to persuade, threaten, convince, deceive or seduce someone or something in order to influence their opinion or outright change it.
- Subterfuges Skills represent underhanded crafts and practices that few people would even imagine taking up. Practising any of these Skills can result in a gain of Infamy points.
Individual Skills may cover a number of different activities, all of which fall under the auspices of the primary Skill. These different aspects are called Emphases, and can give a bonus to characters who choose to pay special attention to that aspect of the Skill. Many Skills described in this chapter include a number of Emphases. The number of Emphases a character may possess for a Skill is determined by his rank in that Skill. A character may possess one Emphasis for a Skill at rank 1, two Emphases at rank 3, three Emphases at rank 5, four at Rank 7, and a maximum of five Emphases at rank 9. It costs two Experience Points to purchase an Emphasis in a Skill. An Emphasis is indicated in parentheses after the name of the Skill to which it is attached. For example, a character with three ranks in the archery Skill and an Emphasis for the short bow would note the Skill as follows: Archery (short bow) 3.
When making a Skill Roll, if the character has an Emphasis that applies to the situation requiring the roll, he may immediately re-roll any dice that result in a 1. This may only be done once per roll. For example, if a character with swords (long sword) 3 and Agility 2 is making an attack with a long sword, he rolls 5k2 for the attack and gets 1, 1, 4, 6, 8. Because he is using a long sword and has the long sword Emphasis for swords, he immediately re-rolls the two dice that resulted in a 1, getting a 1 and a 7. He would then presumably keep the 7 and the 8, for a total of 15. The die that rolled a one the second time would not be re-rolled.
A character may instead of taking another different Emphasis, take the same Emphasis again giving him an additional bonus. A character may only take the same Emphasis up to three times. The second time a character invests in the same Emphasis he gains one free raise on all skill rolls, when the Emphasis applies. When the Emphasis is taken for a third time, the re-roll applies on a 1 and a 2.
Because of the nature of the Roll & Keep system, Traits are often considered more important than Skills, since they contribute not only to the number of dice rolled, but also determine how many are kept. Skills have a number of benefits of their own, however, and the most potent of these are Mastery Abilities. Mastery Abilities are additional benefits that characters gain from having higher ranks in a given Skill. Although most Skills have them, there are some that do not.
Those Skills that have Mastery Abilities typically gain them at Ranks 3, 5, and 7, although there are some Skills that gain a single Mastery Ability at Rank 5. These benefits are listed in the individual Skill write-ups. Unless otherwise specified, Mastery Abilities only apply when the actual Skill in question is being used. All Skills possess a single Mastery Ability at Rank 10, which is a Free Raise on all rolls made using that Skill.
All Skills are described in the following manner:
- Skill name (Trait): The Skill name also includes the Trait with which the Skill is most frequently paired. Any Skill can be combined with any Trait for a Skill Roll (at the GM’s discretion), but the listed Trait is the one most likely to be used in any given situation.
- Sub-types: Any sub-types or qualifiers that the Skill possesses are included immediately after the Skill’s name. These keywords may have mechanical considerations. If the Skill is a Macro-skill, examples of the specific Skills which it encompasses will be listed here.
- Emphases: Any Emphases associated with the Skill are included here.
- Description: This is a general description of how the Skill is used , any social impact associated with its use, and other general notes regarding its use.
- Mastery Abilities: Any Mastery Abilities the Skill may have associated with it are described at the end of the entry.
Other Skill Types and Macro Skills Although not as important as subtypes, there are a handful of Skill classifications that have mechanical considerations.
Macro-skills is a term used to describe large groups of similar skills that do not warrant their own unique name and mechanical considerations. Typically a Macro-skill includes a number of different specializations that can be served by the same Skill system but that are just dissimilar enough that mastery of one does not entail mastery of another. Each of these specializations is thus a unique Skill that must be purchased and improved separately, and is denoted by a specific name after the Macro-skill name. For example, the Skill of playing the game of Go falls under the Macro-skill category of Games and is denoted as Games: Go. Macro-skills include the following:
- Artisan represents the various forms of art.
- Craft represents the ability to create practical objects of one form or another.
- Games represents a number of pastimes enjoyed throughout the world.
- Lore is mastery of one or more scholarly topics.
- Perform indicates a character’s ability to entertain others.
- Spellcraft is the overarching name for a multitude of ways to cast Arcane spells.
- Survival is the knowledge of hunting animals and foraging for food from the local surrounding.
- Weapons are Skills used in combat. Unlike other Macro-Skills, there are a number of individual Weapon Skills that have their own unique abilities. Any other weapon not described in this chapter falls under Weapons, however, and will not have its own abilities.
Alchemy (Intelligence) [Merchant]
Emphases: Poison, Elixir, Poultice, Balm, Salve, Herbalism, Bomb.
Description: Herbalism is used to gather all ingredients that can be fined naturally in the wild.
Poison are used to kill some one or give them various penalty. Some poisons kill out right, the most deadly poisons kill with only the slightest touch, other poisons might only give the affected a splitting headache.
Elixir is used to gain temporary bonuses in varies form, ranging from a slightly increase in strength to being able to see in low light vision. The more potent the Elixir the higher the chance that it’s Toxic. Some Elixirs have a low toxicity and will only causes problems after repeated consumption. Others are so toxic that the consumer dies shortly after consuming it.
Poultice is used to speed up the natural healing process and clean wounds. Poultice is spread on cloth and then cover the skin to treat a part of the body. Poultice’s can also remove any filth or dirt in the wound that might infect it.
Balms are used to gives resistance to the magic and other natural hazards. To use a balm you rub it on the area you wishes to cover. Balms usually gives the user protection from different source, be it heat, cold or magic.
Salves are used to ignore wound penalties or any other forms of penalty. Salves are just applied where the problem is and gets absorbed rather quickly. Salves cannot heal the afflicted area and when it wears of the problem is still there, if it hasn’t healed before then.
Bombs are used to temporary store certain liquids or alchemical mixtures that are then thrown and explode or scatter its contains in an spherical area.
Rank 5: The TN of all Alchemy actions are reduced by 5 (total).
Animal handling (Awareness, Strength) [Social, Merchant]
Emphases: By animal (Dogs, Horses, and Falcons are the most common)
Description: Animals play a vital role in a most peoples life’s, including farming, recreation, transportation, or the actual waging of war. Horses are the most commonly trained animal by people, but a number of others exist. The difficulty to domesticate and train an animal for use varies widely depending upon the animal in question. Some creature are more intelligent than normal animals and won’t respond well to being treated as one, such creature can not be trained with this skill, they will how ever respond to speech or intimidation.
Rank 3: Commonly domesticated animals such as dogs, horses, or falcons may be trained for use by others.
Rank 5: Trained animals still in possession of the trainer may be commanded to attack a target of his choosing. The animal will flee for its life if badly wounded regardless of commands issued.
Rank 7: Animals trained by the character may be issued commands non-verbally.
Archery (Reflexes, Agility) [Combat]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Short bow, Longbow, Composite short bow, Composite longbow
Description: The art of the bow is an accepted part of life, be it for war or simply too put food on the table. The value of the bow in striking at an enemy or pray who is not within range is obvious. A character making a ranged attack who is firing at someone within melee range suffers a penalty of -10 to the total of his attack roll.
When an archer uses a bow he can choice to fire it in two different ways, the first way is to draw a arrow and take his time and aim at his target, when an archer uses a bow this way he uses his Agility trait to hit. The other way is to shot arrows as quickly as the archer can, when the archer fires in this way he uses his reflex ring and may fire additional arrows. For each additional arrow fired the armour TN of each targets increases by 10. So firing two additional arrows will increase the TN by 20 for all targets the archer is shooting at.
Rank 3: Stringing a bow for use is a Simple Action rather than a Complex Action.
Rank 5: Increase the maximum range of bows by 50%.
Rank 5: When using any bow, the Strength of the bow is increased by 1.
Artisan (Awareness) [Social, Merchant]
Sub-types: Macro-skill (includes Painting, Poetry, Sculpture, and Tattooing, among others)
Emphases: Varies by sub-skill
Description: This is a catch-all that represents a character’s talent in one of the many different types of art. Artisan Skill Rolls are used to create works of art, and generally have variable TNs as decided by the GM.
Rank 5: The TN of all Artisan Rolls are reduced by 5.
Athletics (Strength, Stamina, Agility, Reflex) [Combat]
Emphases: Climbing, Running, Swimming, Jumping, Throwing, Flying, Sling, Ogre Sling
Description: Athletics covers many areas normally governed by Trait Rolls. If you have a background in Athletics, however, you can perform these activities, principally climbing, running, and swimming, with considerably more ease than most. Athletics can also increase your capacity for movement, even when restricted by heavy armour and the like.
The Throwing Emphasis allows you to throw items with greater accuracy, including certain weapons such as knives. Using Athletics to throw a weapon offensively is considered an attack roll. Athletics Skill Rolls to climb, run, or swim use Strength, whereas the Throwing Emphasis requires Agility.
Rank 3: Moderate Terrain no longer impedes movement, and movement across Difficult Terrain reduces the character’s Water Ring by 1 instead of 2.
Rank 5: The character no longer suffers movement penalties regardless of terrain.
Rank 7: The character may add 2 meters to the total of one Move Action per Round (this does not increase his maximum possible movement per round).
Axe Weapons (Agility) [Combat]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Battle Axe, Hand axe, Broad axe, Hatchet, Dane Axe.
Description: The oldest tool known to mortals. Axes find their use both in war and at home, be it splitting wood just as easily as skulls.
Rank 3: The total of all damage rolls made with a axe is increased by 1k0.
Rank 5: Opponents with reduction rating have their rating reduced by 2 when attacked with with a axe
Rank 7: Damage dice explode on a result of 9 and 10 when using a axe.
Battle (Perception) [Combat]
Emphases: Mass Combat, Skirmish, Military logistics, Tactics, Leadership
Description: You have made a study of warfare, of strategy and tactics. Not only do you use this skill when using the mass battle rules, but it grants you the knowledge of how armies are organized and maintained, how to inspire and lead troops, how to plan out battles and aiding you in finding out if there’s any advantages in the area for the upcoming battle.
You may spend 6 rounds studying an area for terrain advantages. If you do so, you gain a free raise on any skirmish or battle fought in that area the next day. Also if enemies are lying in wait, you can make a battle/perception (Skirmish) roll against there stealth/agility roll to detect them (Instead of the normal investigation/perception roll). You may make raises to determine more information about your enemies (numbers, what weapons they’re using and if they are aware of your presence.
Rank 5: The character adds his Battle Skill Rank to his Initiative Score during skirmishes.
Blunt Weapons (Agility) [Combat]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Light mace, Club, Heavy mace, Light hammer, Morning star, Earth breaker, Warhammer
Description: Blunt Weapons are the simplest form of melee weapons, they rely on crushing damage to deliver a tremendous force to a small area. Blunt weapons are most effective against heavily armoured foes and is often carried in to battle against Knights or wealthy nobles.
Rank 3: Opponents with reduction rating have their rating reduced by 3 when attacked with with a Blunt weapon.
Rank 5: Use of a Blunt weapon confers one free raise towards use of the knockdown manoeuvre
Rank 7: Damage dice explode on a result of 9 and 10 when using a blunt weapon.
Brawling (Agility) [Combat]
Emphases: Grappling, Improvised Weapons, Brass knuckles, Spiked knuckles, Knuckles axe, Weapon gauntlets Punching daggers
Description: The art of unarmed combat is something that all fighters come to appreciate, although not all pursue it actively. Many rely upon the weapon-based techniques they learn to defend them even without their weapons, and while this can be marginally effective, the actual study of unarmed combat is much more useful.
Brawling can be used as a Weapon Skill, rolling Brawling/Agility against an opponent’s Armour TN to hit and rolling a number of dice equal to your Strength, keeping one for damage (so if you had Strength 3, you would roll 3k1 damage for an unarmed attack). Brawling is also used for initiating and maintaining Grapples, which are explained in the Book of Earth. The Improvised Weapons Emphasis allows you to use almost anything you can get your hands on to increase your capacity to inflict damage. The GM is the final arbiter of what damage a particular improvised weapon inflicts, but generally it should grant additional rolled or kept dice, but not both.
Rank 3: The damage of all unarmed attacks is increased by 1k2 total).
Calligraphy (Intelligence) [Merchant]
Sub-types: Calligraphy is considered an Artisan Skill for the purposes of effects that target Artisan Skills
Description: Calligraphy is considered an art form by many, and is typically used not only among mages, who use advanced ciphers and scripts to protect their Arcane secrets, but also by artisans and courtiers, who use it to impress others. If you possess the Cipher Emphasis, you are assumed to know one of the common ciphers used by people. Ciphers can be very difficult to break, with varying TNs depending upon their commonality of use and means of creation. Typically, the TN to break a cipher is the result of the Calligraphy (Cipher) / Intelligence roll used to create it.
Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +10 when attempting to break a code or cipher.
Cannon (intelligence) [Combat]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Description:This skill is used for aiming and firing cannon effectively. A cannon requires a crew of four men to load and fire, but the skill is only used by their commander, who aims the weapon and keeps the men focused on their specific tasks.
Rank 5: The cannon may be operated with a half crew (two men).
Chain weapons (Agility) [Combat]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Flail, Heavy flail, Three headed flail, Meteor hammer, Spiked chain, Pendle axe chain
Description: Chain weapons are considered unconventional by most traditional fighters, but they have become accepted as legitimate weapons because of the complexity and effectiveness of their use. Generally, chain weapons see a higher degree of use among small groups of specialized warriors. Flails see more use than other chain weapons thanks to their ability to ignore the protection granted by shields.
As all chain weapons are unpredictable and may strike the wielder, if the attack roll misses and rolls at least one natural one then he deals the weapons DR to himself.
Rank 3: Chain weapons may be used to initiate a Grapple (see the Book of Earth), this dose not include flails.
Rank 5: Characters wielding a chain weapon gain a bonus of +1k0 on Contested Rolls against opponents who are entangled or Grappled via their weapon, this dose not include flails. Flail weapons ignore both Armour TN and Reduction granted by shields.
Rank 7: Use of a chain weapon confers one Free Raise toward use of the Disarm or Knockdown Manoeuvres.
Commerce (Intelligence, Awareness) [Social, Merchant]
Sub-types: Dialogue skill
Emphases: Appraisal, Mathematics
Description: Commerce is the act of exchanging goods and commodities. Commerce is sometimes called the blood of civilization as it allows goods to move though out a country, bringing both common and rare goods across massive distances.
The Appraisal Emphasis allows you to quickly determine the approximate value of an object in any given market. The value will vary depending upon the quality of the object’s construction, how exotic or unusual it is, and how practically it can be put to use. More exotic or rare objects are not only more expensive, but also are significantly more difficult to appraise properly.
The Mathematics Emphasis is typically used to calculate things like taxes and tariffs, but can obviously be used in a number of non-business applications as well.
Rank 5: The character may increase or decrease the price of an item he is buying or selling by a maximum of 20%.
Craft (Varies) [Merchant]
Sub-types: Macro-skill includes Armorsmithing, Blacksmithing, Bowyer, Brewing, Carpentry, Cartography, Cobbling, Cooking, Farming, Fishing, Masonry, Mining, Poison, Pottery, Shipbuilding, Tailoring, Weaponsmithing, Weaving, etc.
Emphases: Varies by sub-skill
Description: If artisans are tasked with producing items that are considered abstract and beautiful by people, then craftsmen have a duty to create things of practical value. Blacksmiths, armour smiths, cart wrights, carpenters and shipwrights are all craftsmen. Fishermen and farmers are as well, although they do not produce an item but rather the food that is the lifeblood of civilization.
Mastery Abilities: None
Crossbows (Agility) [Combat, Weapon]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Hand crossbow, Repeating hand crossbow, Light crossbow, Repeating light crossbow, Heavy crossbow, Repeating heavy crossbow
Description: Lacking the reload speed of bows, crossbows however have a brings a lot more penetrating power than any bow. Stopping heavily armoured foes in their tracks with a well placed bolt. And some crossbows are small enough to be wielded in one hand.
Rank 5: The reloading time for crossbows are reduced by 1 complex action
Defence (Reflexes) [Combat]
Emphases: Shields, Parry (choose one Weapon Skill)
Description: A warrior who cannot defend himself is of little use, it will not be long before he falls in battle.
Defence is an essential Skill necessary to adopt the Defence, Full Defence Stances, using shields and Parrying in combat effectively, all of which increase your Armour TN and make you more difficult to hit in a skirmish or a duel.
Using a shield in combat will increase both a characters Armour TN and Reduction. With the shield emphases then when in the Full Attack Stance a shield user may choose to lose all their Armour TN and Reduction granted by the shield. Doing so removes the 10 point Armour TN penalty by being in the Full Attack Stance. This however can’t be done with a tower shield. A character may also attack with their shield by doing a defence (shield) / agility roll, this counts as an attack that deals 0k2 damage plus the characters strength. A character that attacks with their shield receives one free raise towards the knockdown / knockback Manoeuvre.
When you purchase the Parry Emphasis you may add half of your chosen weapon skill rounded up to your Armour TN.
Rank 3: The character may retain the result of a previous Defence / Reflexes roll rather than make a new roll if the Full Defence Stance is being maintained in subsequent rounds.
Rank 5: The character’s Armour TN is considered 3 higher in the Defence and Full Defence Stances.
Rank 7: Attacking in the Defence Stance now only courses the opponent to gain +5 on their Armour TN instead of +10.
Disguise (Awareness) [Social]
Sub-types: Social Skill, Disguise is considered a Perform Skill for the purposes of effects that target Perform Skills
Emphases: Gender, Profession, Cast, Race
Description: This is a measure of an individual’s ability to convincingly pass himself off as someone else, whether assuming a role in a play or attempting to infiltrate the fortress of his enemy. The TN to disguise yourself is 15. This assumes that you are taking on the role of a non-specific individual who shares the same national affiliation, gender, and profession. Each of these basic features that are changed increase the total TN of the Skill Roll by +5. Attempting to imitate a specific individual is significantly more difficult, and increases the TN by a total of +15 in addition to any other increases because of race, gender, or profession. You may also Raise on your roll to make your disguise harder to see through. A character who is trying to see through your disguise must roll Investigation / Perception against a TN of 15, +5 for each Raise you made.
Rank 3: The TN to create a disguise is reduced by 5.
Rank 5: The TN to create a disguise is reduced by 10 (total).
Rank 7: The TN to create a disguise is reduced by 15 (total).
Divination (Intelligence, Perception) [Merchant]
Emphases: Astrology, Fortune Telling
Description: Some individuals possess the understanding how to glimpse the strands of fate and destiny, and can gain some glimmer of insight into the future as a result. This sometimes involves studying the stars and their placement via, but most often comes from use of Fortune Telling, small stones, sticks, bones and coins in a variety of shapes and sizes. It’s not uncommon that they have engravings or symbols upon them. Most common way to tell ones fortune is to typically thrown pieces in into a bowl or other receptacle and then examined to determine the patterns.
You may attempt a divination once per day. The TN for this Skill Roll is 15, although depending upon the circumstances the GM may dictate a higher TN. If the roll is failed, a second roll may be attempted immediately if you expend a Fate Point. (As usual, the TN for the second roll is increased by +10.) The results of divination attempts are notoriously vague, but should give some indistinct inkling of what is to come in the immediate future (i.e. “you see difficult times ahead,” “an old enemy returns soon,” “a shadow will fall over your father’s house,” etc).
Rank 5: A second Divination Skill Roll may be made without the cost of spending a Fate Point. All other conditions for making the second Skill Roll still apply.
Duelling (Reflexes) [Combat]
Emphases: Assessment, Focus, Strike
Description: Duelling is one way to settle a dispute, be it for honour, to show who is telling the truth or when the matter cannot be resolved in any other manner. The winner of the duel is proven correct, and the defeated party is proven to be wrong. There can be no contest of a duel’s outcome, barring dishonourable conduct on the part of the winner during the duel. Some duels are to first blood while others are to the death.
Rank 3: The character gains a +1k0 bonus to all Contested Rolls using Dueling.
Rank 5: During an Duel, the character gains one Free Raise on his Duelling (Focus) / Awareness roll during the Focus Stage.
Rank 7: During the Assessment portion of an duel, the character gains a bonus of +2k2 to the total of all Focus Rolls if his Assessment roll exceeds his opponent’s by 10 or more (instead of the normal +1k1).
Engineering (Intelligence) [Merchant]
Sub-types: Engineering is considered a Craft Skill for the purposes of effects that target Craft Skills.
Emphases: Construction, Siege, Firearms
Description: Far more complex than a simple crafting skill, engineering is a rare gift among the people. It involves an understanding of how things are constructed and, as a result, how they can best be de-constructed.
The Construction Emphasis specializes in making plans for others to follow, building things from a simple tower to an elaborate palace.
The Siege Emphasis is the exact opposite of this, and tells you best how such things can be destroyed in battle.
Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +10 to the total of any Engineering Skill Roll made as part of a Cooperative or Cumulative Skill Roll.
Etiquette (Awareness) [Dialogue, Social]
Sub-types: Dialogue skill
Emphases: Bureaucracy, Conversation, Courtesy
Description: The courtesy Emphases is essentially the right way to behave in high society. Courtesy also allows you to offer an opinion without risking offence (at a TN chosen by the GM) or to remember important social mores that might otherwise be forgotten (TN of anywhere from 5 to 20, depending on obscurity). The Bureaucracy Emphasis is used when trying to manoeuvre through government channels appropriately, such as trying to arrange a meeting with someone of high Status. Conversation allows you to determine an appropriate, non-offensive topic for discussion (TN 15+).
Rank 3: The character gains an additional +3 misc bonus on all Etiquette skill rolls
Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +1k0 to the total of all Contested Rolls made using Etiquette.
Rank 7: The character gains an additional +7 misc bonus on all Etiquette skill rolls (in addition to the bonus from Rank 3).
Firearms (Perception) [Combat, Weapon]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Musket, Pistol, Blunderbuss
Description: Firing a gun is a test of memory and rote rather than of physical skill. Gunpowder weapons normally have a very slow rate of fire, requiring Six Complex Actions to load and prepare for firing (a skilled and experienced soldier can shorten this time, but only somewhat).
Rank 5: Loading a firearm takes you one less Complex Action.
Forgery (Agility, Perception) [Subterfuge]
Sub-types: Forgery is considered a Craft Skill for effects that target Craft Skills.
Emphases: By type of item being forged (Artwork, Documents, Personal Seals, etc.)
Description: Documentation is very important for most country’s, from information on an individual’s illustrious lineage to travel papers issued by magistrates, and even the official decrees from Kings or Queens. Those with an eye for detail, a steady hand, and a distinct lack of honour can take advantage of this system by falsifying such papers, either for their own use or to sell to others.
When a forgery is created, the result of your Forgery Skill Roll with a fitting trait decided by the Game Master, should be written down. This is the TN for others to detect the forgery using an investigation / Perception Skill Roll.
Rank 3: The character gains a bonus of +1k0 to his Forgery Skill Roll result for the purposes of establishing the TN of an Investigation / Perception Skill Roll to detect it.
Rank 5: the character gains a bonus of +1k0 on any roll to detect a forgery made by someone else.
Rank 7: The character gains a bonus of +0k1 (for a total of +1k1) to his Forgery Skill Roll result for the purposes of establishing the TN of an Investigation / Perception Skill Roll to detect it.
Games (Various) [Social]
Sub-types: Chess (Intelligence), Liar’s dice (Awareness), Poker (Perception), 5-finger fillet (Reflex), Two card poker (Perception), Dice (Agility).
Emphases: Varies by sub-skill
Description: Games of all kind are an important diversion for all kind of people. Although some races or country’s generally prefer direct physical activities such as wrestling or other competitive pursuits, virtually everyone in the world plays a game of one form or another on a regular basis. Some popular games include: Chess, Liar’s dice , Poker, 5-finger fillet , Two card poker and Dice. Games Skill Rolls are typically Contested Rolls made between two individuals, each attempting to defeat the other at the game in question.
Mastery Abilities: None
Heavy weapons (Agility) [Combat, Weapon]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Two Handed Sword, Two Handed Hammer, Two Handed Axe, Two Handed Club, Two handed sabre
Description: Training in the use of heavy weapons is the hallmark of fighters in heavy armour. While anyone can pick up a heavy weapon, few dedicate enougth time to properly learn it. However, the sheer power of these weapons is the main reason for thier use. Allow the weilder to bypass armour, break bones and cleave flesh with great easie.
Rank 3: Opponents with reduction rating have their rating reduced by 4 when attacked with with a Heavy Weapon
Rank 5: Use of a heavy weapon confers one Free Raise toward use of the Knockdown and Cleave Manoeuvre.
Rank 7: Damage dice explode on a result of 9 and 10 when using heavy weapons.
Horsemanship (Agility) [Combat]
Emphases: Nordon Horse, Pony, Battle Steed
Description: In general, all people can ride a horse at normal speed on level ground without the need for a Skill roll – the Skill only comes into play when riding a horse in difficult or stressful situations (bad terrain, thunderstorm, combat, etc.). Individual types of horses react differently to various circumstances, and some can be much harder to control under stressful situations such as combat.
Rank 3: The character may utilize the Full Attack Stance when on horseback.
Rank 5: Mounting a horse is a Simple Action rather than a Complex Action, and dismounting is a Free Action rather than a Simple Action.
Rank 7: Mounting a horse is a Free Action rather than a Simple Action.
Intimidation (Awareness) [Dialogue, Social, Subterfuge]
Sub-types: Dialogue skill
Emphases: Bullying, Control, Torture, Threatening
Description: The manipulation of others through the use of threats, both stated and implied, is an often employed tool for those who have no honour or lack a silken tongue. The Bullying Emphasis is the simplest form of Intimidation, and involves the immediate, short-term threat of violence to get another to perform a specific act.
Control, on the other hand, indicates a longer-term attempt to shape another’s behaviour to your will. Intimidation is usually a Contested Roll, resisted with Etiquette (Courtesy) or Speech (Sense Motive) / Willpower. The GM may require a different Skill or Trait to resist the Intimidation attempt if it seems more appropriate to the situation.
Torture, which is never a subject for polite conversation, is used by professional tortures. Commonly employed by lords or various criminal elements in order to elicit confessions and information from people.
The Threatening Emphasis is used in combat when a person tries to instil fear in their opponent. A opponent that is targeted by someone using the intimidation skill in combat must roll his willpower against the targets intimidation skill *5. The person that is threatening must roll over the targets willpower *5 and can choice to make raises to increase the TN the opponent needs to beat by 5 for every raise. If the target fails then he will be considered to suffer from the effects of fear against the person threatening him. The fear rank is half the skill rank rounded up. Creatures that are immune to mind effects ignores this effect.
Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +5 to the total of any Contested Roll made using Intimidation.
Investigation (Perception) [Social]
Emphases: Interrogation, Notice, Search
Description: Investigation represents your ability to assess your surroundings and gather information based on physical clues. It can also represent an ability to gather information from others over a longer period of time, hours or even days, in order to piece together different bits of information into a cohesive picture. Unlike other Intelligence or Perception Trait Rolls, Investigation can be re-rolled if you fail the initial roll. The second roll may not be made for at least an hour, however, and suffers a +15 increase to TN. Investigation is most frequently used to locate something (or someone) hidden or concealed. If this is a person in hiding, a Contested Roll will be used, pitting the character’s Investigation (Notice or Search Emphasis according to the circumstances) against the target’s Stealth. The Interrogation Emphasis can be used to try to figure out if someone is lying, typically in a Contested Roll against the target’s Sincerity.
Rank 3: A second attempt to use the Search Emphasis may be made without an increase in the original TN.
Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +5 to the total of any Contested Roll made using Investigation.
Rank 7: A third attempt to use the Search Emphasis may be made even if the second attempt fails.
Knives (Agility) [Combat, Weapon]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Dagger, Stiletto, Throwing Knives, Dirk.
Description: The art of wielding a knife is not typically considered a priority when there are many more effective, more lethal weapons than a simple knife. Yet, a well place Knife can do lethal damage, and the ease of hiding most knifes is also a bonus.
Rank 3: Off-hand penalties do not apply when using a knife in your off hand and the damage of knifes is increased by 2k2 when doing the Called Shot Maneuver.
Rank 5: Use of a Knife confers one Free Raise toward use of the Extra Attack Maneuver.
Rank 7: The total of all damage rolls made with a knife is increased by 0k1 and Damage dice explode on a result of 9 and 10.
Lore (Intelligence) [Merchant]
Sub-types: Macro-skill includes, Anatomy, Architecture, Astronomy, Elementals, Fae, Spirit, Undead, Heraldry, History, Law, Nature, Culture, The Ocean, Arcane, Folklore, Theology, Underworld, War.
Emphases: Anatomy: (One mortal race, specific creature), Architecture: (Specific culture style, castles, houses, bridges), Astronomy (navigation, constellations), Elementals: (air, earth, fire, water, ice, mist, lightning, Pacts), Fae: (Specific Fae type, Behaviour, pacts), Spirit: (Specific spirit type, Behaviour, Pacts), Ghosts: (Specific Ghost type, Afterlife), Heraldry: (Banners, Greater houses, Minor houses), History: (specific era), Law: (Bureaucracy, Specific region/city, Common law), Nature: (Specific type of animal or plant, weather, specific region), Culture: (Humans, Orc. Dwarf, Elven, Goblin, Ogre), The Ocean: (Fauna, flora, weather, islands, ports), Arcane: (Rituals, Blood magic, Witchcraft, Pacts, Enchantments, Leylines, Places of Power), Folklore: (Superstitions, legends, specific regions), Theology: (One specific deity, afterlife, the divine realm), Underworld:(Black market, contraband, assassins, smuggling), War: (Specific race, specific battles)
Description: Lore Skill Rolls are made to determine if a character possesses certain information regarding the subject area (i.e., a warrior character might make a Lore: Arcane Skill Roll to see if he could determine the purpose of a ritual being conducted).
Mastery Abilities: None
Medicine (Intelligence) [Merchant]
Emphases: Antidotes, Poisons, Disease, Herbalism, Wound Treatment.
Description: Medicine can be used to treat many different injuries and ailments, including some spiritual ones. Specific diseases may be treated with the Disease Emphasis, although the TN for treatment will vary depending upon the disease in question. The same applies to poisons and the Antidote Emphasis.
When you treat Wounds that an ally has suffered from damage, a successful Medicine (Wound Treatment) / Intelligence roll will remove 1k1 wounds, the TN depends on how Injured the target is. Every raise called on this roll allows the wounded character to recover one additional 1k0 wounds.
- Lightly Injured characters can recover 1k1 Wounds with a TN of 15. The Dice can explode like normal.
- Moderately Injured characters can recover 1k1 Wounds with a TN of 20. The dice can explode once.
- Heavily Injured characters can recover 1k1 in Wounds with a TN of 25. This dice cannot explode.
Each successful Raise on this roll allows an additional die to be rolled, but no more than one die is ever kept on such a roll. An injured individual may only benefit from a single Medicine Skill Roll per day, and each such roll made requires the use of a Medicine Kit, which allows for ten Medicine Skill Rolls before being consumed.
Rank 5: The amount of Wounds healed on a successful Medicine roll is increased by +0k1.
Navigation (Perception, Intelligence) [Merchant]
Emphases: Any Terrain, Forest, Mountains, Swamp, Etc.
Description: Most folk occasionally find it necessary to go to go to unexplored places without roads, maps or townsfolk they can ask for directions. Using stars, triangulation and memory, a character can use this skill to plot journeys though uncivilized terrain with intelligence or find their way with no stable reference point (e.g left blindfolded in an unknown forest) with perception.
Rank 5: The TN of all Navigation Rolls are reduced by 5 (total).
Perform (Varies) [Social, Merchant]
Sub-types: Macro-skill includes Dance (Agility), Oratory (Awareness), Puppeteer (Agility), Song (Awareness), Storytelling (Awareness), Bagpipe (Agility, Stamina), Harp (Agility), Flute (Agility, Stamina), Lute (Agility), Drums (Agility), Fiddle (Agility), Horns (Stamina), Tambourine (Agility), Acting (Awareness), Comedy (Awareness)
Emphases: Varies by sub-skill
Description: Perform Skill Rolls are made to complete a performance successfully. The TN for such a roll generally depends upon the mood of the audience and is determined by the GM.
Mastery Abilities: None
Polearms (Agility) [Combat]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Glaive, Halberd, Bardiche, Quarterstaff, Bill, Lucerne hammer
Description: Polearms are a common weapons on the battlefield becouse of their range and impact force against armored warriors both on and off horseback. Because of the small amount of metal needed to create, polearms are cheap to make. Makeing them the favored weapon of levies and peasants rebellions.
Rank 3: The total of all damage rolls made with a polearm is increased by +1k0.
Rank 5: A character wielding a polearm adds his Polearms Skill Rank to his Armour TN during Skirmishes and Polearms with Reach 2 can attack weapons with in the Reach length.
Rank 7: All polearms may be readied as a Free Action instead of a Simple Action.
Religion (Intelligence) [Social]
Sub-types: Macro-skill includes picking one Deity
Emphases: Knowledge, Prayer, Rituals.
Description: The Religion skill can be used to try to gain favour with one god, by praying and hoping the god listens or make a sacrifice that fits with the gods domain. A Sacrifice will differ depending on what god but it will more often be noted than a simple prayer. When you have finished the sacrifice or prayer you will need to making a Religion / Intelligence Roll against a TN the GM decides secretly.
The TN might be lower or the favour greater depending on the sacrifice, if there was any at all. Missing the TN means you have failed to gain the gods notice or he don’t think you really need his help at this moment, but noting else. If you roll more than four natural ones then you have insulted the god, by perhaps asking for something that he thinks you should be able to do your self or the offing was to small and you might get a divine curse. No matter how high you roll on this roll, if your sacrifice is insulting to the god then you will get cursed no matter what. Priest and holy warriors that have bin cursed by there god can’t cast divine spell until they redeem them self.
The Knowledge Emphasis is used to understand the gods domains and there will, giving a good understanding of what would be pleasing to that particular deity.
The Prayer Emphasis is used when a priest or holy warrior is praying for favour, spells or divine boons. Any natural ones rolled when trying to invoke a prayer may be re-rolled once.
The Ritual Emphasis is used when a priest leads the followers of his Deity in a religious sermon, ceremony or ritual.
Rank 3: The TN of all Religion actions are reduced by 5.
Rank 5: The character gains +1k0 on all divine Spell Casting Rolls.
Rank 7: The TN of all Religion actions are reduced by an additional 5 to total of 10
Sailing (Agility or Intelligence) [Merchant]
Sub-types: Sailing is considered a Craft Skill for the purposes of effects that target Craft Skills.
Emphases: Knot-work, Navigation
Description: The Navigation Emphasis can be used to determine your approximate location using the stars, and determine in what direction a specific destination lies (assuming you already know where the destination is and simply want to know where it is relative to you). The Knot-work Emphasis is used in working with the ropes and cloths aboard a sailing vessel.
Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +5 to the total of any Sailing Skill Roll made as part of a Cooperative or Cumulative Skill Roll.
Sleight of Hand (Agility) [Subterfuge]
Emphases: Conceal, Escape, Pick Pocket, Prestidigitation, Lock picking, Trap.
Description: The dexterous manipulation of small objects for the purpose of misdirection, concealment and disabling various mechanisms is not looked upon favourably by most people. Will often used for parlour tricks, someone skilled in sleight of hand can do far more than simple tricks.
The Conceal Emphasis allows you to hide small objects (something that can fit in your hand) on your person, requiring a Contested Roll using Sleight of Hand / Agility against Investigation / Perception to detect it.
The Escape Emphasis allows you to slip free of bonds. The TN for this varies considerably, and can be TN 15 for simple ropes or as high as TN 25 or 30 for high-grade chains or bindings, or it can be a Contested Roll against the responsible party’s Sailing (Knot-work).
Pick Pockets is fairly self explanatory, requiring the same manner of Contested Roll as Conceal in order to avoid detection, and Prestidigitation allows you to use the Skill to entertain or distract people by performing tricks.
Finally, the Lock Picking Emphasis allows you to open doors or chests without the key, while the Trap Emphasis gives you the ability to disarm these deadly mechanisms safely.
Rank 5: The character may use the Conceal Emphasis to conceal small weapons.
Spears (Agility) [Combat]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Lance, Pike, Boar spear, Javelin, Short spear, Long spear
Description: The usage of spears is a long-standing tradition in many families, clans, tribes and so on. But unlike polearms, which are primarily slashing weapons, spears are typically designed for puncturing or thrusting, and can be an extremely effective weapon against cavalry and a perfect tool for hunting.
Rank 3: When bracing a spear against a charging enemy you may ignore all their Mundane Reduction.
Rank 5: A character wielding a spear adds +5 to his Initiative Score during Skirmishes. Additionally, a spear may be readied as a Free Action rather than a Simple Action.
Rank 7: Damage rolls made with spears against mounted opponents or opponents of Large size or greater, or while within 1 M of an ally wielding a spear, are increased by +1k1.
Speech (Awareness) [Dialogue, Social]
Sub-types: Dialogue skill
Emphases: Gossip, Manipulation, Rhetoric, Bluff, Sincerity, Sense Motive
Description: Essentially, Speech is the “social offence & defence” Skill. Socially adept characters that are on the offensive against their opponents use Speech, often with the Manipulation or Rhetoric Emphases, to outmanoeuvre their opponents, influence their views and opinions, steer conversations in a desired direction, win arguments, or deliver cunning put-downs or defend one self against it.
Speech can also be used to obtain or spread rumours about someone, using the Gossip Emphasis. This can be more difficult depending upon the target’s Status, with a suggested TN of 10 plus the target’s Status x5, minus your Status x5. GMs can have players Raise on the roll to conceal that they are the source of the gossip, and it should be noted that attempting to spread malicious rumours about someone with higher Status is generally unwise and can easily lead to a death or worse.
Truth is used when you must convince some one that you are speaking the truth, while Bluff is used when you must tell a convincing lie and sense motive is used to determine if what someone is actually telling you a clever lie or sincere truth.
Rank 3: The character gains an additional +3 Insight bonus on all speech skill rolls
Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +1k0 to the total of all Contested Rolls made using Speech.
Rank 7: The character gains an additional +7 Insight bonus on all speech skill rolls (in addition to the bonus from Rank 3).
Sub-types: Macro-skill includes, Blood Magic, Rituals, Witchcraft and Enchanting
Emphases: Blood Magic: (Spell Research, Any one Spell Keyword, Spontaneous Casting), Rituals: (Spell Research, Sense Magic, Any one Spell Keyword, Spontaneous Casting), Witchcraft: (Spell Research, Sense Magic, Any one Spell Keyword, Spontaneous Casting), Enchanting: (Patterns, Binding, Disenchanting).
Description: Spellcraft is the study of how to make rituals, how use them to gather magic, focus one’s mind and finally conjure a Arcane Spell.
The Spell Research Emphasis allows a mage to develop the required rituals and incantations too create a entirely new spell.
A mage with the Sense Magic Emphasis can feel out the magic around him and the magic in objects. To do this the mage must spend at least one minute or ten rounds opening his mind to the arcane. After spending the required time the mage makes a Spellcraft / Magic (Sense Magic), the mage can feel the magic in the area equal to his Magic Ring in meters. The mage can also tell what auras a magical object has, giving him a inkling of what enchantments or magical properties it might have. The more concentrated or powerful the magic the easier it is to sense, the exact bonuses are left up to the GM.
The Spell Keyword Emphasis allows a mage to gain the Emphasis bonus on any Spell Casting Roll when casting a spell with the same Keyword. The spell Keywords that exist are the following, Air, Fire, Earth, Water, Mist, Ice, Lightning, Life, Creation, Death, Time, Lumomancy, Restoration, Shadow, Darkness and Corruption
The Spontaneous spell casting Emphasis allows a mage to reroll any natural ones on any Spontaneous Spell Casting Roll.
A Pattern Emphasis is used when creating a pattern that the magic uses to bond itself with the object, making them one thing.
The art of Binding is the act of gathering and binding magic in to an object.
Disenchanting is the act of removing an enchantment form an object. To do this you roll a Spellcraft: Enchanting (Disenchanting) / Magic roll beating a TN of the enchantment with in the object, if successful then the enchantment is removed. Disenchanting is done when an object is cursed or when a more powerful enchantment is desired instead of the current one.
Rank 3: Double the range that a mage can Sense Magic.
Rank 5: All; The character gains +1k0 on the Spell Casting Rolls.
Rank 7: All; Reduce the TN of Spontaneous Spells by 10. Rituals; No roll is needed to roll when making the Ritual Symbols when in a stressful situation. Blood Magic; When spilling blood to cast a spell, you count as having inflicted one additional Wound for the purpose of Spell Levels. Witchcraft; The Duration multiplier for Witchcraft spells is increased from four to five.
Stealth (Agility) [Subterfuge]
Emphases: Ambush, Shadowing, Sneaking
Description: While concealed via Stealth, you may take Move Actions. When taking a Move Action while using Stealth, you may only make Simple Move Actions, and these only allow you to move a number of meters equal to your Water Ring (although Mastery Abilities can increase this significantly).
The Ambush Emphasis allows you to make a Stealth (Ambush) / Agility roll, contested by an opponent’s Investigation (Notice) / Perception, to gain an advantage over them during the first round of combat if they are unaware of your presence.
Rank 3: A character’s Simple Move Actions while using Stealth allow him to move a distance equal to his Water x 2 M.
Rank 5: A character’s Simple Move Actions while using Stealth allow him to move a distance equal to his Water x 4 M.
Rank 7: A character using Stealth may make Free Move Actions as normal.
Survival (Perception) [Merchant]
Sub-types: Macro-skill includes, Hunting, Foraging
Emphases: Hunting: (Tracking, Trailblazing, Skinning, Small Game, Big Game, Fishing), Foraging: (Herbs, Berries, Fruits, Greens)
Description: The Tracking Emphasis allows you to locate and follow the tracks of prey through rural environments, although repeated Skill Rolls are necessary for longer trails.
Trailblazing allows you to forge a trail through the wilderness that others can follow, making better time and requiring less work in order to follow it.
The Skinning Emphasis allows you to skin and butcher animals in the wild with minimal equipment.
Small Game, Big Game and Fishing allows you to be better at gathering meat, from one of those categories. With one of the two Game Emphasises a character can use his Survival: Hunting skill instead of Stealth when hunting animals.
All Emphasis in the Foraging skill allows you to tell what plants can be eaten, which one that are poisonous and how to prepare them.
Rank 3: The character gains an additional +3 Insight bonus on a all Survival: Foraging checks. The character gains a +1k0 bonus on all rolls to sneak up on a animal.
Rank 5: The character gains a Free Raise on all uses of this skill.
Rank 7: The character gains an additional Free Raises on a all Survival, this replaces the +3 insight bonus for Survival: Foraging.
Swords (Agility) [Combat, Weapon]
Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Short sword, Long sword, bastard Sword, Rapier, Sabre.
Description: Swords come in a multitude of shapes, from sabres mostly meant for cutting, to rapier used almost only for thrusting. Swords are a common tool in war and duels.
Rank 3: The total of all damage rolls made with a sword is increased by 1k0.
Rank 5: A sword may be readied as a Free Action rather than a Simple Action.
Rank 7: Damage dice explode on a result of 9 and 10 when using a sword.
Temptation (Awareness) [Social, Subterfuge]
Sub-types: Dialogue skill
Emphases: Bribery, Seduction
Description: Temptation is best used against opponents who possess certain kinds of Disadvantages, such as Lechery, Fascination, Greed, or perhaps a Dark Secret. The GM will usually require a Contested Roll using Temptation / Awareness (with the appropriate Emphasis) against the target’s Etiquette (Courtesy) or Speech (Sense Motive) / Willpower. Much as with Intimidation, the GM can choose to let a PC roll against a flat TN when employing Temptation against a minor NPC.
Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +5 to the total of any Contested Roll made using Temptation.